MATH 2090: Elementary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra

MATH 2090     Elementary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra     Fall 2014

  Sections 3 and 5   Instructor: Dan Cohen   Phone: 578-1576
  Section 3   M T W Th   10:30 - 11:20 am  
  Section 5   M T W Th   12:30 - 1:20 pm  
  Office Hours:   M T W Th   11:30 am - 12:20 pm  
                           and by appointment
  285 Lockett (both sections)   Office: 372 Lockett   URL:  

TextDifferential Equations and Linear Algebra, Third Edition, by Stephen W. Goode and Scott A. Annin.
We will cover (portions of) Chapters 1-8.

Prerequisites:  MATH 1552 (Calculus II).

Catalog Description:  Introduction to first order differential equations, linear differential equations with constant coefficients, and systems of differential equations; vector spaces, linear transformations, matrices, determinants, linear dependence, bases, systems of equations, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, and Laplace transforms.

The departmental syllabus may be found at

Exams:  There will be three, hour-long in-class exams, each worth 100 points. The exams will tentatively take place in the weeks of September 15, October 13, and November 10. Exact exam dates will be announced in class. No make-up exams, except in extreme cases. If you must miss an exam, I will expect you to notify me before the exam takes place.

Homework: These sections of MATH 2090 will use the computer package WeBWorK for graded homework. The WeBWorK log-in page for this course is

Your username is your PAWS email name, and your initial password is your 89 ID number (with no spaces or hyphens). You may change your password if you wish. WeBWorK also stores your PAWS email address. If you prefer another email address, you may change this as well.

WeBWorK assignments will be given throughout the semester. The first assignment will be available on the first day of class. Then, you should make sure you can successfully log in, and begin working on it immediately. In total, WeBWorK homework will be worth the same as a single in-class exam (100 points).

I will assign other homework problems from the text (to be done by hand for practice) essentially every class. These homework assignments will be announced in class and posted

Homework, both from WeBWorK and the text, will occassionally be discussed in class as necessary.

Final:  There will be a comprehensive final exam work 200 points.
For Section 3, the final exam is scheduled for Thursday December 11, 12:30 - 2:30 pm.
For Section 5, the final exam is scheduled for Wednesday December 10, 7:30 - 9:30 am.

Grade:   Your course grade will be based on the 600 possible points outlined above. I may curve course grades. In any case, 90-100% is assured an A, 80-89% a B, and so on.

Notes:     As the titles of the course and text indicate, our objective is to introduce differential equations and linear algebra. These two subjects are tools you will undoubtably encounter and have occasion to use as you progress through your science and/or engineering courses. We will develop methods for solving (certain classes of) differential equations and problems in linear algebra. We will also endeavor to develop an understanding of why these methods work. To this end, we will work with objects known as vector spaces. The ideas we develop will, among other things, provide us with a means of understanding the theory underlying the solution of linear differential equations. There is, however, no such thing as a free lunch. The level of abstraction in, for instance, chapters 4 and 5 will probably be somewhat higher than what you've encountered in prior courses.

In general, to stay on top of the material, it is important that you attend class, read the text, and do the homework regularly.

Calculators, computers, books, notes, etc. may not be used on the in-class exams or the final exam.

Bear in mind that you are taking this course under the guidelines of the Code of Student Conduct.

Important Dates:   September 3 is the last day to drop; September 4 is the last day to add; November 7 is the last day to withdraw;
Labor Day is September 1; Fall holiday is October 2-3; Thanksgiving is November 26-28.

Dan Cohen   Fall 2014